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Go Ask Alice Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Go Ask Alice is written as the diary of a fifteen-year-old girl's day-to-day struggle with drug addiction. Created during the height of the drug era, the girl could be anyone from this time who found him or herself seduced by the mind-altering affects of marijuana, LSD, bennies, dexies, and heroin. When the book begins, the author of the diary is an ordinary teenager with ordinary teenage concerns. She is an innocent, yearning to see what life has to offer her, and she falls in with a group of kids headed on a destructive path. Wanting desperately to be part of the popular crowd, this "innocent" girl discovers drugs, and very quickly her addition becomes uncontrollable. The girl spirals downward and finds herself trapped in a world of pushers, prostitutes, and runaway teens too stoned and too out of touch with reality to find their way back home.

Go Ask Alice became a cult classic in the 1970s, revealing the inner thoughts of a teen in turmoil and detailing her attempts to pull herself out of her drug-induced haze. Though the story was widely criticized as a "complete fabrication" and dismissed as propaganda, its message remained powerful. The book took the romance out of the drug culture that so dominated the 1960s and 70s, and is hailed still today as a groundbreaking book on teenage drug addiction.